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English Department

Honors Program

Click here for the updated Application to the English Honors Program

The Honors Program offers to qualified majors the opportunity to pursue advanced studies that culminate in the writing of a senior thesis. The thesis may be a critical, creative, or hybrid project Students who write the thesis and who successfully complete the other Honors requirements may graduate with Honors or High Honors in English. Students interested in writing a senior honors thesis should enroll in at least one Honors section by the end of their junior year.

Requirements for Honors in English

To graduate with Honors in English, students must:

(a)    complete all the requirements of the English major with at least 6 hours in honors sections (if appropriate for a particular honors thesis, a graduate seminar or a seminar in a study-abroad program may be substituted for one honors seminar);

(b)   be admitted to the honors program in spring of the junior year;

(c)    in the senior year, complete 3 hours of English 4998, Honors Colloquium; and

(d)   write a thesis in English 4999 (3 hours);

(e)    pass an oral examination on the thesis topic

(f)    maintain at least a 3.4 grade point average overall and 3.5 in the major

English and Secondary Education double majors who would like to consider Honors should consult the English Director of Undergraduate Studies: Julia Fesmire .

Honors Sections

The Department generally offers two honors sections each semester in its schedule of English courses.  Honors sections are open to any student who has completed the College writing requirement and who has at least a 3.4 G.P.A.. Honors sections fulfill the same requirements as regular sections of those courses. Students who have taken either the Honors or the regular version of a course may not enroll in the other version for credit. Many students take these more advanced sections even though they do not intend to enroll in the Honors Program. For current honors section offerings, see further below.

Senior Year Honors Curriculum

English 4998 is a 3-hour course with the Director of the Honors Program taken in the fall. It features shared readings, which vary from year to year, and includes discussion of critical approaches, research methods, and selection of thesis topics. This course will count toward the standard major should a student drop out of the Honors Program. English 4999 is a 3-hour independent study course in which the student writes the Honors thesis. It must represent an additional 3 hours of work for any major. Students are placed in semester-long reading groups that meet regularly; generally the class meets as a plenary group only 2-3 times in the semester.

The thesis is supervised by the Director of the Honors Program and a second advisor appointed from the English Department. It is due in early April and ordinarily is 40-80 pages in length. It is graded by a committee consisting of the Honors Director, the appointed advisor, and an additional faculty reader. The oral examination will be on the subject area of the thesis and will be administered by the same committee. 

Grades in 4999 are awarded by the Honors Director in consultation with the candidate’s committee. The grade is based primarily on the written thesis but also on performance in the oral exam and the quality of participation over the semester. Students who make B- or below in 4999 receive credit but are not eligible for Honors in English; students who make B to B+ ordinarily receive credit for 4999 and Honors in English; students who make A- or above ordinarily will receive credit for 4999 and become eligible for High Honors in English. The committee, guided by the Director, may review the candidate’s record before deciding whether to grant Honors or High Honors.


Fall 2014

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